Attaining the absolute: Dillinger Escape Plan Live

I think that yesterday, watching Dillinger Escape Plan, something happened. This is one of the last shows ever of the experimental hardcore… progcore, I don’t know what to call it… ever will play in the Netherlands. This will be in 013 in Tilburg. It was amazing and somewhere in between I feel like Dillinger Escape Plan gives the concert goer a glimpse of the absolute. I’m telling you.

So maybe that’s the fever that was running through my body, which almost made me sell my tickets. I felt that it would not do to stay at home, while this band has sustained so many injuries. A little fever, they must shrug that off like a little bruise. Anyways. Musically this band is supreme, I’ve seen them play a bunch of times, but the first time was 11 or 12 years ago and I think that was a moment when my way of perceiving music changed forever.

It was a gig in the old Effenaar in Eindhoven, when it was still that cool old factory hall with the shitty toilets and crappy… well, it was just a rundown place, which gave it such a cool vibe. Dillinger completely blew me away that night and that is exactly what happened again yesterday.  If there is a band compatible to the level of attention and ferocity of Dillinger, it must be Meshuggah. Apart from that they have no peer.

Through the years the band moved to a more  artistic, more accesible and even wildly jazzy sound. On ‘Black Bubblegum’ and ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ you hear that softer sound. The feeling of being hunted is even on more tempered songs a constant present, like on ‘Happiness is a smile’ (which they played for the first time this night). These are all worthy endeavours, good songs that show the musicianship of these gents has vastly expanded over the years. I mean, the track ‘Farewell, Monla Lisa’ is a completely crushing, incinerating track with dirge-like passages lamenting the meaninglessness of our existence in one of the most powerful ways ever. Just wow!

Dillinger shines truly, when they play those classics. The all-destroying, aural assaults from the early days, like ‘Panasonic Youth’. Songs like this are destructive in essense, it’s the musical equivalent of scorched earth tactics. What is left after being completely battered and bruised by these frantic notes? Not without reason the set closes with ‘Sunshine The Werewolf’ from Miss Machine and ‘43% Burnt’  from Calculating Infinity. This is exactly because these songs are some of the purest expressions of rabid fury ever. The most violent music I’ve ever heard, but also delivered in a way that leaves no room for anything. An expression that is absolute, unmistakable and overwhelming.

Again, might have been the fever, but for me hearing Dillinger Escape Plan play again was cathartic. Destroying everything, playing on  a stage completely bare of any decoration. This is one of the most pure live experiences you can get.  Shame they’re throwing in the towel, but I won’t forget this night.

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